Letter to the Editor: ‘Cool’ words and phraseologies in commercials make me cringe

Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman

Have you noticed the number of commercials that involve people dancing? Is this because having people standing still and talking at the public is less alluring? Some of those dance moves also seem to be particularly suggestive, but we won’t go there.

Then there is the use of “cool” words that invoke being a part of some “in-crowd.” I am especially put off by the use of the word, “fave,” which, I assume, stands for the word, favorite. For some reason “fave” makes me cringe.

Of course, the “pharma” (another now accepted abbreviation) folks have used the euphemism, “moderate to severe,” which stands for the whole spectrum of suffering of some physical condition. I say ‘physical condition’ because one could hardly apply this annoying phrase to, say, bi-polarity. Just imagine an ad for some mental health product which could be applied to a “moderate to severe” OCD patient. Just what would or could that mean? But in the case of some “moderate to severe” psoriasis that is affecting a person’s skin, why not just say, “within the range of” or “impacting people who are among those suffering” the following condition? The justification which immediately pops out is that the phrase, “moderate to severe” is just advertising’s shorthand for ‘inclusion in a given class of people.’ I am waiting for some weather person to tell the public that road conditions in the coming hours will be in the “moderate to severe” range of iciness. Following falling off our chairs in laughter and derision, the phrase would surely be quashed.

In the forthcoming Super Bowl ads, dancers will probably introduce us to brand new words or phraseologies. We shall make certain of these our “faves” if we aren’t “moderately to severely” turned off by them.

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